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Dollar shops are everywhere. That's a problem for poor Americans



Dollar stores across the US are increasingly being scrutinized by opponents who argue that discount chains inhibit local competition and restrict poor communities' access to healthy food. Dollar stores have never been so popular. However, a wave of cities and towns has passed laws that stem the expansion of Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which bought Family Dollars in 2015. The companies are the country's two largest dollar shop operators, bringing together more than 30,000 US businesses from under 20,000 a decade ago. By comparison, Walmart, America's largest retailer, has 4,700 US stores. According to the big retail chains, several stores in low-income areas are deliberately grouped together. This strategy prevents supermarkets from opening and, according to critics, threatens existing mom and pop shops. "The business model for these businesses is based on saturation," said Julia McCarthy, senior policy associate at the public interest public interest research center and a critic of dollar businesses. "With so many dollar stores in the area, there's no incentive for a full-service grocery store." Opponents also express concerns that dollar stores are not offering fresh produce. Dollar General and its competitors in the Dollar Store sell mainly snacks, drinks, canned goods and vegetables, housewares and personal care products at rock-bottom prices. Dollar General and Dollar Tree, however, argue that they benefit communities by providing buyers with convenient places to buy groceries and the bare essentials at low prices. "In rural areas without existing grocery stores, a dollar general could be seen as an asset," said Christopher Merrett, director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Dollar stores bring new revenues and property tax revenues to cities, create jobs, and expand shopping for customers. Dollar stores are seeing a chance to grow even further in America. Dollar General and Dollar Tree have plans to open another 24,000 locations. But legislators across the country are pushing back. Last week, the city council in Birmingham, Alabama unanimously passed laws prohibiting the opening of new dollar stores within a mile of "While the dollar stores in our community are proliferating, healthy food choices have dried up," said the mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, opposite CNN Business. The new measure will help Birmingham attract and retain grocers for the city's food deserts. Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Mesquite, Texas have also passed laws restricting the opening of new dollar stores. And officials in New Orleans, Cleveland and Fort Worth, Texas, are considering plans to limit dollar stores in their cities. Growth of dollar storesDollar stores have been around for decades. However, since the 2008 recession, they have been on the rise in the United States as more and more Americans were forced to streamline their spending. Although the US economy has become stronger in recent years, the popularity of dollar stores has continued. Wages for a large number of Americans have risen modestly. The people who live from paycheck to paycheck were a boon to dollar stores, and the chains have also reached higher-income buyers looking for discounts, analysts said last year. The company's core customers earn around $ 40,000 a year or less, $ 20,000 less than the median income. The US dollar is mainly aimed at low and middle income customers in rural and suburban areas. Dollar Tree targets customers in middle-income suburbs, while Family Dollar focuses on customers in lower-income cities and rural areas. Dollar General seeks to build businesses in rural areas where a retail or grocery store is not within 1

5 or 20 miles. Around 75% of Dollar General's business is in cities with 20,000 or fewer inhabitants, and the chain is largest in the southern states. (Dollar General runs more business in Texas than Costco and Whole Foods combined.) "Dollar General stores often prefer to settle on the outskirts of a rural town off the beaten track," said Merrett, of West Illinois University. "This is not very different from what Walmart did 30 years ago." Dollar stores can open up quickly in new areas because they are small and have lower operating costs than grocery stores. Dollar General Stores are on average 7,400 square feet, compared to 40,000 square foot supermarkets. And shops that employ only a handful of workers to store aisles are cheap to operate. Against the Resistance Critics say, however, that the uncontrolled growth of dollar business is hurting local communities. "Some communities are seeing dollar deals as very serious competitors over their local retailers and grocery," said David Procter, director of the Rural Food Initiative at Kansas State University. Family-owned grocery stores operate at greasy margins, and dollar stores can put pressure on them with lower prices, experts say. Although most Dollar stores do not sell fresh food, they offer many of the same household products and daily necessities, such as grocers. These commodities are often the highest-margin commodities and grocers can not afford to lose them, Procter noted. "If the dollar stores make up most of the deal, it will hurt their bottom line," said Burnell Cotlon, owner of Lower 9th Ward Market in New Orleans said his grocery store had suffered when Family Dollar was opened in the neighborhood. Cotlon lost valuable sales of detergents, toothpaste and toiletries. "I had to work harder to stay afloat," said Cotlon, who received national recognition for opening one of the only grocery stores in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward in 2005 devastated by Hurricane Katrina. But the Family Dollar was recently closed, driving customers back to Cotlon's store. "As soon as the shops closed, my toiletries jumped up again." Other residents and business people fear that the concentration of dollar stores in urban areas will prevent the opening of grocery stores offering a wide range of products and healthy options. There are nearly $ 100 shops within six miles, "said Fort Worth councilor Kelly Allen Gray," They are heavily located in low to middle income areas, which makes their presence predatory. "And Blaine Griffin, Cleveland City Council, which has introduced a moratorium on dollar store reopening, expressed its concern that dollar stores are not offering fresh fruit or vegetables. "Many of the people living in our communities live in desserts," Griffin said "Dollar Chains" are selling chains that actually offer good and wholesome food. "Dollar GeneralDollar General's product initiative is trying to fend off the criticism that it does not sell healthy or fresh food." Some 125 "for you better" items have been added in shelves around 3,400 stores are planned to reach 6,000 stores by the end of 2019. The products are sold under the D & G Good & Smart House brand ollar General, and the store carries brands such as Annie & # 39; s, Back to Nature and Kashi.Dollar General has begun offering fruits and vegetables for the first time in about 500 stores. CEO Vasos said last year Dollar General can "boost a tremendous amount of traffic" by adding products to rural and urban food desserts. But opponents such as McCarthy of the Center for Science in the public interest say the Dollar General's product endeavors do not go far enough because it only reaches a fraction of the company's more than 15,000 branches.

As Dollar stores are gaining ground throughout America, they are becoming increasingly critical of those who claim that discount chains are inhibiting local competition and restricting poor communities' access to healthy food.

Dollar stores have never been so popular. However, a wave of cities and towns has passed laws that stem the expansion of Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which bought Family Dollars in 2015. The companies are the country's two largest dollar shop operators, bringing together more than 30,000 US businesses from under 20,000 a decade ago. By comparison, Walmart, America's largest retailer, has 4,700 US stores.

Proponents of stricter control of dollar transactions say the big chains are deliberately grouping together several businesses in low-income areas. This strategy prevents supermarkets from opening and, according to critics, threatens existing mom and pop shops.

"The business model for these stores is based on saturation," said Julia McCarthy, chief political officer at the non-profit center for science in the public interest and a critic of dollar stores. "With so many dollar stores in the area, there's no incentive for a full-service grocery store."

Opponents also express concerns that dollar stores are not offering fresh produce. Dollar General and its competitors in the Dollar Store sell mainly snacks, drinks, canned goods and vegetables, housewares and personal care products at rock-bottom prices.

Dollar General and Dollar Tree, however, argue that they benefit the communities by providing buyers with convenient locations to procure food and basic necessities at low prices.

"In rural areas where there are no grocery stores, one dollar could be considered as an asset," said Christopher Merrett, director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Dollar stores are bringing new sales and property tax revenues to cities, creating jobs, and expanding shopping for customers, he added.

Dollar stores are seeing a chance to grow even more in America. Dollar General and Dollar Tree have plans to jointly open another 24,000 locations.

But lawmakers across the country are pushing back.

Last week, the Birmingham City Council, Alabama unanimously approved laws banning new dollar stores "As the dollar stores in our community multiplied, healthy food options dried up," Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said CNN Business. The new measure will help Birmingham win and hold grocers for the city's food deserts.

Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Mesquite, Texas have also passed laws restricting the opening of new dollar stores. And officials in New Orleans, Cleveland and Fort Worth, Texas are scrutinizing plans to limit the dollar business in their cities.

Dollar Business Growth

Dollar business has been around for decades. However, since the 2008 recession, they have been on the rise in the United States as more and more Americans were forced to streamline their spending.

Although the US economy has picked up in recent years, the popularity of the dollar stores has diminished. Wages for a large number of Americans have risen modestly. The people who went from paycheck to paycheck were a blessing to dollar stores, and the chains have also reached higher-income buyers looking for discounts. Executive Todd Vasos told analysts over the past year. The company's main customers earn around $ 40,000 a year or less, $ 20,000 below the median income.

Dollar General is aimed primarily at low and middle income customers in rural areas and suburbs. Dollar Tree targets shoppers in middle-income suburbs, while Family Dollar focuses on customers in lower-income cities and rural areas.

Dollar General wants to build businesses in rural areas where a retail store or grocery store is not within 15 or 20 miles. Around 75% of Dollar General's business is in cities with 20,000 or fewer inhabitants, and the chain is largest in the southern states. (Dollar General operates more businesses in Texas than Costco and Whole Foods combined.)

"Dollar General stores often prefer to settle on the edge of a rural town off the beaten track," said Merrett of the Western Illinois University. "That's not very different from what Walmart did 30 years ago."

Dollar stores can open quickly in new areas because they are small and have lower operating costs than grocery stores. Dollar General Stores are on average 7,400 square feet, compared to 40,000 square foot supermarkets. And shops that employ only a handful of workers to store aisles are cheap to operate.

Increasing Opposition

Critics say, however, that the untested growth of dollar stores is hurting local communities.

"Some communities are seeing these dollar deals are very serious competitors to their local retail and grocery stores," said David Procter, director of the Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University.

Family-owned grocery stores operate with wafer-thin profit margins and dollar stores can put pressure on lower prices, experts say. Although most Dollar stores do not sell fresh food, they offer many of the same household products and daily necessities, such as grocers. These goods are often the highest margin and grocers can not afford to lose them, Procter noted.

"If the dollar stores make up most of the business, it will hurt their bottom line," he said.

Burnell Cotlon, owner of Lower 9th Ward Market, New Orleans, said his grocery store suffered when Family Dollar opened in the neighborhood. Cotlon lost valuable sales of detergents, toothpaste and toiletries.

"I had to push harder for other articles to stay afloat," said Cotlon, who has won national recognition for opening one of the only grocery stores in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward.

The family dollar, however, has recently become closed, driving customers back to Cotlon's store. "As soon as the shops closed, my toiletries jumped up again."

Other local residents and business leaders fear that the concentration of dollar stores in urban areas will prevent grocery stores offering a wide range of products and healthy options from opening.

"There are nearly $ 100 shops within six miles," said Fort Worth councilor Kelly Allen Gray. "They are heavily located in low to middle income areas, which makes their presence predatory."

And Cleveland councilor Blaine Griffin, who has introduced a moratorium on dollar store reopening, expressed concern that dollar businesses do not offer fresh fruit or vegetables.

"Many of the people who live in our communities live in food deserts," Griffin said. Dollar stores "sell chains that actually provide good and healthy food."

Dollar General's Product Initiative

Dollar General seeks to ward off criticism that it does not sell healthy or fresh food.

It's been added In some 3,400 stores around 125 "Better for You" items are on the shelves. It is planned to reach 6,000 stores by the end of 2019. The products appear under the Good & Smart House brand of Dollar General, and the business carries brands such as Annie's, Back to Nature and Kashi.

Dollar General now offers fruit and vegetables For the first time, vegetables in around 500 shops. CEO Vasos said last year Dollar General can "drive a tremendous amount of traffic" by adding products to rural and urban food deserts. But opponents such as McCarthy from the Center for Science in Public Interest say Dollar General's product endeavors do not go far enough because it only reaches a fraction of the company's more than 15,000 businesses.


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